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Ontology Summit 2010: Present "Content" - Synthesis of the Discussion     (1)

This is the workspace for the co-champions to synthesize the discussion on this track.     (1A)

Track Label: Content - Subtrack Label: Present     (1B)

Mission: The track mission is to survey the existing provision of ontology education with regard to curricular content.     (1B2)

Pertinent questions     (1B3)

  • Which educational programmes are there, if any, which are mainly or entirely devoted to ontology and related topics?     (1B3A)
  • Within other educational programmes, what modules/courses are there which are mainly or entirely devoted to ontology and related topics?     (1B3B)
  • Are there any other programmes or modules/courses with sufficient ontologically relevant content?     (1B3C)
  • Are there curricular models (a.k.a. curricular guidelines) that include ontology-related topics?     (1B3D)

Survey on Present Education / Training Content & Quality     (1C)

Synthesis: How are ontologists currently trained?     (1D)

As a baseline for future planning we conducted a survey that was intended to discover the state of current provision of ontological education. The survey ran over the period 13th January to 2nd March 2010, it was comprised of two 'tracks', covering curricular content and quality assurance.     (1D1)

For the curricular content track, we were interested in hearing about the educational programs mainly or entirely devoted to ontology and related topics; courses or modules (within other educational programs) mainly or entirely devoted to ontology and related topics; other courses or modules with substantial ontological content; curricular guidelines that include ontology-related topics.     (1D2)

For the quality assurance track, we were interested in hearing about what bodies, in any, currently accredit programs with substantial ontological content; what bodies, if any, currently offer certification to ontology professionals; what other forms of quality assurance exist of relevance to ontology education.     (1D3)

Only three responses corresponded to programs devoted to ontology-centered topics. The majority of the responses (21) corresponded to programs which offer ontology-centered courses within other programs, with the remaining responses (15) corresponding to courses which, while not entirely ontology-centered, included some ontology-related topics.     (1D4)

Of the 29 respondents who specified a program type, 24 specified 'academic degree'; of these, 16 specified masters-level programs. Regarding the main discipline within which ontology-related material was presented, a clear majority (18 out of 30) specified Computer Science. Thus a 'typical' ontology course forms part of a masters-level degree program within a Computer Science department. Other main disciplines mentioned were Philosophy, Medicine, Library Sciences, and Engineering �� there were also some 'other' responses.     (1D5)

Only a few sets of curricular guidelines targeting ontology-centered curricula were captured, and it is not clear if these were comparable, in terms of maturity, to those put forward by ACM/IEEE for Computing.     (1D6)

A total of 34 different institutions were captured, from 9 different countries (alphabetically: Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, UK, and USA). Some of these institutions offer more than one relevant course, and we captured altogether 48 different courses. For some of these, we were given URLs, but not all of these linked to actual course syllabuses.     (1D7)

We captured the names of five bodies which provide advice on how to build ontology-related curricular content; nine accreditation bodies; and four bodies which offer professional accreditation to ontologists. For many of these we were supplied with details (at least a URL).     (1D8)

Sixteen respondents offered 'final comments', which included the following observations:     (1D9)

  • I had to develop the second part of the Semantic Web Technologies course, and it was imposed on me that it had to have 2 lectures on OWL, 5 on ontology engineering, and 5 on SemWeb for the Life sciences (so I could not properly treat all the introductory ontology topics that I think should have been in the curriculum). I did look around quite extensively to see what others taught, noticed a very large diversity, and that, basically, the lecturer chooses the course content to match their own specialties.     (1D10)
  • I am not sure if the expression "Information Science" in Brazil has the same connotation as it has in other countries. As far as I know, there are three distinctive "lines" inside what is called IS here: studies related to sociology (information and society), studies related to library science (organization of information), and studies related to management of information in organizations (knowledge management and related technologies). The ontologies research generally falls under the two last lines mentioned.     (1D11)
  • I am delighted that this survey is being made. I don't think anyone has a good grasp on who is teaching what (in Ontology) around the world now. Thanks for putting this together.     (1D12)

Recommended actions     (1D13)

  1. An ontology-based registry, with web interface, should be developed, allowing members of the community to add information about ontology-centered educational and training initiatives. The web interface would provide the community with dynamic answers to a variety of queries and also with access to shared educational and training resources.     (1D13A)
  2. Since most of the captured information comes from Computing, the community may wish to consider 'lobbying' to infuse more ontology-related content into Computing curricular models (e.g., those of ACM/IEEE).     (1D13B)
  3. Since there seem to be existing professional certification bodies, the community might want to consider offering feedback to them about their certification processes.     (1D13C)

This page is maintained by Arturo Sanchez and Antony Galton     (1D13E)

Please do not edit or modify it yourself; send any editing request to any one of the individuals named above.     (1D13F)

This page has been migrated from the OntologWiki - Click here for original page     (1D13G)